A stroke can strike at any time, and the catastrophic effects can be life changing.
So, how can we protect ourselves, and our loved ones?
The sad reality is that we sometimes cannot! There are a number of fixed factors that will directly impact your likelihood to suffer a stroke.
First and foremost is age. The older you are, the more probable a stroke is. Although, a “brain attack” can occur at any stage of life, they are definitely most prevalent amongst the elderly.
Doctors say the next most significant consideration is your family’s health. Having a mother, father or close relative who has had a stroke in the past, makes us much more susceptible to the same fate in the future.
The reality is we can’t rewrite our family history or reverse the years. However, if we look beyond these two matters of fact, we can see several factors that are under our control, and allow us to retain some of the responsibility for reducing our risk of stroke.
There is a direct correlation between your size and the probability of having a stroke. Obesity immediately means you are considered a high-risk individual. This may not come as much of a surprise to most. However, did you know that by losing as little as 10 pounds of excess weight, you will seriously reduce your chance of stroke?
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Maintaining a reading of between, 120 over 80, and, 140 over 90, should be your goal, and this needs to be taken seriously. High blood pressure is accepted as the single biggest cause of stroke. Uncontrolled blood pressure can make an individual 400% more likely to face a stroke! Avoid foods high in salt and cholesterol, and eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish.
Leading an active life, leads to better health. Regular, consistent exercise is widely known to be an essential part of slimming down and reducing blood pressure. However, it also has its own independent benefits. A low to moderate intensity workout, of as little as 30 minutes, five times a week (think a brisk walk or a few holes of golf), will lower your level of stroke risk.
Stop Smoking & Drink Less
Cigarette cessation and a moderate alcohol intake will curb your susceptibility to a stroke. Smoking causes your blood to thicken and can clog arteries. Similarly, excessive alcohol will increase your risk. Limit it to one small glass a day, with a preference for red wine.
Taking one Baby Aspirin every day prevents heart attack and stroke. This is especially true in individuals already considered high risk. A daily dose of 75mg can stop blood clots, however it is vital that you speak with your family doctor before commencing.